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Cost of collaboration systems unknown for many IT pros

In UC news, two surveys find that IT pros are facing several collaboration challenges. Plus, Brightcove looks to extend its cloud video platform across the enterprise.

IT professionals are unaware about the true total cost of ownership of conferencing and collaboration systems,...

according to a survey of more than 400 IT leaders. Fifty-six percent of IT decision-makers do not know how much they are spending on subscriptions and licenses for conferencing and collaboration systems.

On average, organizations are using 4.4 different services -- including web, audio, video and chat -- across three different providers, the survey found. Managing multiple collaboration systems not only increases the cost, but also creates other IT challenges, such as network limitations, service quality issues and management problems.

Video conferencing vendor Lifesize Inc. commissioned the survey, which was conducted by Spiceworks Inc., an online community of IT professionals. According to the survey, 92% of respondents have deployed or are considering using multiple collaboration systems. Sixty-six percent of IT professionals use multiple providers.

The total cost of ownership (TCO) far exceeds the subscription and license fees for collaboration systems, the survey found. Respondents said several other factors contribute to the TCO of collaboration systems, including the supporting infrastructure, IT troubleshooting, bandwidth needs and end-user training.

Cost is just one of many collaboration challenges that IT pros experience. Other top challenges include network and bandwidth limitations, dropped or disconnected conferences, security restrictions preventing file sharing, poor video quality and compatibility issues, among other problems.

IT pros dissatisfied with communication tools

The Lifesize survey comes as cloud communications vendor 8x8 Inc. issued the results of a separate Spiceworks study that indicated widespread dissatisfaction with business communications systems overall. In the 8x8 survey of 175 IT decision-makers, only 28% said they were satisfied with their business communications systems.

The study highlighted a key unified communications (UC) trend for IT pros: Consolidate your communication needs onto fewer platforms and providers.

In the survey, IT pros cited several collaboration challenges, including the time required to train end users, limited troubleshooting support, poor audio quality, and the confusion and cost of using multiple platforms. 

Survey respondents also said they use multiple voice services in the workplace. Sixty-five percent use on-premises PBX phone systems; 50% use hosted and internet-based phone systems; and 67% use mobile phones. Additionally, 38% said supporting mobile and remote employees is a top consideration for their communication tools.

IT professionals also indicated they want simplicity in their UC systems. Fifty-eight percent are looking for tools that simplify management; 47% want to simplify troubleshooting and support; and 41% want simplified setups.

Businesses that hire global talent but don't have a centralized office should have a UC platform that includes mobile apps, video and chat options, the report found.

Brightcove extending cloud video platform

Cloud video services provider Brightcove Inc. is looking to extend its online video platform to various business units and internal company audiences. Boston-based Brightcove unveiled last week its Enterprise Video Initiative, which includes new platform capabilities and partnerships.

Brightcove has been largely geared toward digital marketers to help them leverage video services to generate company awareness and improve audience outreach. Now, the vendor is targeting other lines of business and looks to make video a core communication utility across the enterprise for internal and external audiences.

Corporate communications, human resources and sales teams, for example, could use the Brightcove platform to create internal videos for employee-training purposes. The new functions in the cloud video platform include:

  • A template for users to create videos in different formats with links to other content. Users can also create calls to action.
  • Brightcove Live, a live-streaming service for internal events, such as town halls and customer forums, has on-demand features that extend the life of the event.
  • Audience profiles that capture and analyze individual video viewing data. A single sign-on  function lets IT groups integrate video into federated identity management systems, enabling centralized access control.
  • New partnerships and integrations with enterprise content delivery networks Hive Streaming, Ramp and Streamroot to enable secure streaming of video content behind the firewall.

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